Policy Documents

Secret Disservice: The Public's Right to Know

H. Sterling Burnett –
August 1, 1999
Policy makers often rely on scientific research, much of which is funded by the federal government, in making important policy decisions. Faulty research can result in bad policy. One of the requirements of the scientific method is that the entire study must be published for scrutiny by scientists. These results are published so that a scientist may try to reproduce the results, or further research by adding or deleting variables. However, some studies that lead to public policy decisions are often hidden from view. This article details many areas where the use of data is simply not made available despite the request by public officials that the data be made public.